My Bite of the Apple Part I (Redacting Steve Jobs)

Apple, the forbidden fruit

Excited to buy my first iPhone? I guess. but it wasn’t an outer body experience as buying Apple products has been for some.  Maybe that’s because I’m a techie fail, a black hole when it comes to understanding mother boards and code and building cloud infrastructure and sequencing networks.  I can figure things out if directions are given to me? But that’s it. I am one step above tech illiterate doggie doo with a single digit IQ. So if you are an uptown geek, then you will probably stop reading right about now.

After I got the iPhone, was I ebullient, addicted, umbilical corded? Nah. Actually, since I had a Motorola as well, can you believe my iPhone became my secondary phone to use in case I needed to reference something online? I preferred my old MO, my laptop, my Motorola for calls, the iPhone for referencing. I didn’t like the touch screen so much and since I type at the speed of light, slowing to one finger “tough” could never approach any viable functioning beyond snail pace to input type. That made me  pissy. So, I hobbled along in the comfort of the tech semi-dark ages. But I was acutely aware of the awe this gadget produced in others whenever I pulled it out to reference something. Swoons, gasps, exclamations of approval filled the air as if this thing  gave me character and substance and not the other way round. Frankly, I thought it amusing at the time and felt somewhat flattered that I was almost “in.” (I had never been “in” in HS. In college as a hippie, yes…but HS has its own sting and that poison was difficult to expurgate.)

iPads I lusted over but balked at purchasing.

Was it this faux flattery that percolated my appetite to lust for another bite of the forbidden fruit? I thought about buying an iPad. Did I need it? Do I need another piece of jewelry (Most of it is in the safe deposit box.)? I thought, well, I could compose  my news articles easily without dragging my laptop around. Granted my laptop was small, and it worked well…everything there that I needed. I admit it. The super hype about the iPads was irresistible and the reveal had my heart and head feening.  And at times there were visceral urges that I just had (I mean short of waiting in line for three days. I’m not insane.) to have one of those fabulous, incredible, virtual portals that professionals would be sashaying around with them like progeny.  But when I was up close and personal with an iPad my friend (a line waiter) had, I thought, but I love my laptop.  Why do I need two cameras?  Taking pictures with an iPad is so pretentious, like you want everyone to know it’s an iPad you are taking a picture with. Big deal. (I know, I know. I can hear the geeks moaning about my fecal cephalic lack of appreciation for the iPad’s prodigious design and flawless tech perfection.)

But once you have that first bite, you become hooked. Like a confused obeser who doesn’t know she’s full (I used to be obese; I can say that word.) I had to indulge and buy another Apple product.  Maybe I’d even join the holy crowd and worship at the shrine of awesomeness, becoming an owner of Apple, you know, get a few shares?  The company’s earnings were spectacular, market share flying high like a dirigible with iPhones and iPads selling so rapidly the company couldn’t keep up production. Global sales…mega, mega.  I like, thousands of others, regretted not buying the company when it nearly went belly up and Jobs came back in glory to take it over again after the board kissed his feet and became his willing slaves. I wouldn’t buy a lot of stock, just enough (100 shares) for it to be a symbol that I endorsed everything Steve Jobs stood for as an enlightened, Renaissanced, man of goodness, a shining glory.

So I went to Apple and I looked at the iPad. But I balked at the point of purchase. I had a headache. Over the next few days, I looked at other tablets and smaller laptops. I discussed the iPad with as many geeks as I could. I hesitated. Like a hunger pang that abates, my lust fled. Not sure why. Maybe because I would have to pay for a lot of stuff I needed, buying from the iTunes store, cha ching? I was sick of doing that on the iPhone. The interface with Mozilla that was paramount, I would have to tweak. And I had issues with my iPhone which was slowing. And two cameras? What for two cameras? I had enough cameras I wasn’t using: 35 mm beauties and digitals (top of the line when they first came out).

So instead, I went for another Apple product, their top of the line wireless router that I could stream with from Montauk (I live in NYC). My uncontrollable appetite did rear her fat head, you see? But this bite left me with a  bitter taste:  it was unappetizing and I got indigestion. The router was really pricey and weird to put together. And I had a hell of a time configuring it to my PC. Annoyed at my tech incompetence and blaming my bad gut, I returned it and bought a well reputed router that  a one-year-old could set up. And I left the rising market share of Apple stock for the birds of the air to pluck. But since my phone contract was up, I purchased the next generation iPhone, knowing I would use it minimally, relying on another phone. My appetite for this next bite, though not particularly nourishing or filling was vital to my ego, cultural sensibilities and ethos. I indulged my lust.

Apple Store, Grand Central Station

And then Steve Jobs died. I wrote an article for Technorati and saw the TV programs about his genius, reheard his Stanford speech for the hundredth time and admired the man who was like a mastermining god, the new savior who walked on tech waters.  Again and again it was repeated, his ambition, his “drive for perfection” and his “we’ll never see his like again,” and his business acumen and ruthlessness, all wonderful praise for an icon that geeks wept over, no exaggeration. (There were folks unrelated to his family who sobbed over his loss.) It was only a day later after I muted all the static that it came to me. The geeks who owed their changed lives to Jobs? The change was all theirs and had little to do with the man or the gadgets and in fact, they might have become someone greater if not someone else despite him not because of his Apple. But irrevocably, they had tied their own identities with Jobs; they were him and he was them. And they rued the days ahead because how would they be able to function without him to market the wonder and the magic of their addiction and keep their lives meaningful?

And then after Jobs was in the ground a few months, the dam broke and the waters roiled. What had been dredged up in secret and silted and drained away with each reveal of the next generation iPad and iPhone product could be stemmed no longer. Enter Foxconn. And slowly by revelation of a different kind, we began to understand the identity of the king serpent who delivered the Apple to us to eat.

Posted on March 11, 2012, in The Writer's Tower. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m not a techie either. I was still on dial-up internet service until about a year ago and I’ve only had my blackberry for about 18 months. It was instant phone crack for me. I previously used only about 4 min. per month on cell phone – that’s not a typo – and now it really is almost an umbilical cord. Funny how much one thing can make a difference.

    Like

    • It does and that is why when the addiction is on, it is very hard to break. So in a way, I am glad I didn’t get an iPad because it would have been all the more difficult not to get another. You will see in the next post why I am glad I didn’t get an iPad. I am very upset with Apple right now, and I hope they change. Keep you posted.

      Thanks so much for sharing. I appreciate it.

      Ciao,
      Carole

      Like

  2. circleofenergy

    I agree with you 100%, Carole. There is something very creepy about Apple and the Apple fan-boys. The iPad is a terrible laptop, you can’t angle the screen like a laptop – unless you buy an add-on bracket thing, you can’t close the lid to protect the screen – unless you buy an add-on screen protector. Just buy a PC laptop – it’ll do everything you want.

    And I saw your tweet regarding Jesus and Stephen Hawking. I agree with you on that one too.

    SAM SMALL

    Like

    • Thanks so much for your comments about the iPad. The bloody device still has an allure and every now and then I receive a pang…and then tell myself, no wait and get a smaller laptop or get a tablet, but not an iPad. You have really helped. It is inconvenient and that’s not what I want. And the expense is way over the top and then they charge for every little thing. Who needs it. Finally, I hate how they have handled this latest push against Mike Daisey (they got their hatchet people to leave the impression that he is an liar) and the investigation which all but implied that things are now better. Maybe, but for a season. The moment another product comes out and Foxconn will be operating its usual practices and Apple will turn a blind eye. That is my next post about the company. Have been swamped…but I’m thinking it through and waiting. I don’t trust them. They do creep me out. Sorry for the rant. Thanks again for helping me solidify my decision for good. 😉 Thanks for sharing Sam. Tweet me and I’ll stay in touch or visit here.
      Ciao

      Like

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